In mid-December 2021, Toyota took all of us by surprise when it showed the Sports EV, a conceptual sports car with a purely electric powertrain. Featuring Gazoo Racing badging, the "mid-ship run-about 2-seater" was quickly seen by enthusiasts as a spiritual successor of the MR2. As seen in these official images, it had surprisingly large air intakes, short overhangs, plenty of carbon fibre, and presumably a removable targa top.
Toyota has been tight-lipped about the Sports EV ever since but a new report from Japan claims the company is still interested in coming out with an MR2-like model. Best Car magazine reports the baby sports car co-developed with Suzuki and Daihatsu is still happening. We've been hearing this rumour for years, and Toyota showed a conceptual entry-level sports car in October 2015 with the S-FR concept, although that had a front-engine layout.
Toyota Sports EV
The Japanese magazine claims the three domestic automakers are working on an affordable mid-engined Toyota sports car with a turbocharged 1.0-litre engine. The three-pot is said to produce nearly 120 bhp and 200 Newton-metres (147 pound-feet) of torque. It is believed the ICE will have a mild-hybrid setup to provide a small boost and improve fuel economy.
While the rumoured output is not exactly impressive, the "Midship Sports" mentioned by Best Car is said to weigh just 1,000 kilograms (2,204 pounds). That would make it just about as light as the base Mazda MX-5 with the 1.5-litre engine, which has 129 bhp and 150 Nm (111 lb-ft). It's said to be significantly bigger than the MX-5 and the third-generation MR2 by measuring 4,200 millimetres (165.3 inches) long, 1,720 mm (67.7 in) wide, and 1,220 mm (48 in) tall, with a wheelbase of 2,550 mm (100 in).
Suzuki is reportedly developing the engine while the front suspension will be adapted from the current-generation Yaris. The styling is said to take cues from the Daihatsu Copen although the rendering published by Best Car shows a sleeker sports car that takes itself more seriously. It would be strictly a two-seat affair and carry the Toyota badge.
The alleged Midship Sports is said to cost from 2.2 to 2.8 million yen depending on trim level and options. That works out to £13,650 to £17,400 at current exchange rates. As always, especially with rumours that never die yet don't come to fruition either, take these details with the proverbial pinch of salt.